Monday, June 27, 2016

Storing Student Supplies

How do you organize student supplies? I have tried many ways but I have finally found one that really works for my classroom.
When I first started teaching, I did table buckets. They looked so cute on the tables. I would just step back and look at the beauty of it all. Functionality was a whole different thing. They were somewhat functional but caused  a lot of conflict with my students. I had kids fighting over being in the bucket first. I had kids fighting over who didn't get which color crayon or marker first and so forth. These were kindergarten students and so they were a bit immature but at the end of the day, it gave me a headache. Those same cute little buckets by the middle of the year looked like something I had taken out of the garbage. It just wasn't working for me. If  it works for you all, that is great ! Please share some tips. 
The second thing I tried was to have students store their items just in their separate storage boxes. To be honest, I don't like using these that much. The kids are always in them, even when they don't need to be. Every time a student opened one of those boxes I got hives. My goodness! They opened and closed those things 24-7. I couldn't take it. They are cute but goodness, if I hear one more box pop open, I am gonna lose it. Sorry... I went off into teacher mode. Those memories are still haunting me. The only thing I use these pencil boxes for now are for students to keep home if they don't have supplies at home or to have on hand in the instance we have intervention where they go to other classes and will need their supplies. 
The third thing to try are these cute little table top storage containers. This picture just projects it large but they are really small and cute.  I honestly have no complaints about them except that they may be a bit flimsy. When you place things in them, they will stay steady and firm on the desk . Also they may take up a bit of space . The problem I usually have with containers and items on the table is that students seem to keep getting in them and not focusing on what we are doing as a whole group. These are functional and cute nevertheless.
I love how the cute little draws pull out and you are able to store whatever students may need. 

I honesty have never tried using these little pencil or supply pouches as my main storage element but they seem as if they would do the trick. They are quiet unlike the supply boxes. They don't take up much space. Kids have their own so they won't have to fight over them and they are overall easy to keep track of. So...I have no complaints about this one. 
My favorite and what has really worked for me is my community supply station. At the community supply station there are markers, pencils, eraser, crayons, paper, glue, scissors, paint and whatever else we need for our classroom. Students have access to these items whenever they need. The great thing about it is that they don't have anything on their tables to play with while it is whole group and instruction time. I don't have table buckets to clean out and organize and student can focus on what they are learning without flipping their pencils or messing with the scissors and other items on the table. Students are only allowed to get what they need exactly when they need it. Also they know how to place everything back where they found it which helps them to take responsibility for our classroom items as a whole. 

As you can see here, we just pull buckets from our central area to use in our small group or in any whole group activity we are doing. We use highlighters a lot so I had to get a bucket for highlighters. This is the one that has just worked for me. I may try something else next year but why fix something that is not broken? Would love to hear what has worked for you.